Name: Pam O’Connor
Age: Old enough to know…
Occupation: Urban Planner
Neighborhood of residence: Wilshire Montana
Own or rent: Rent
Marital status/kids: none
Party affiliation: Democrat
SURVEY (50 word answers)
- Who has the best cheeseburger in Santa Monica?
My sister. She makes a gourmet French burger with onion confit (caramelized onion, sliced mushrooms and bacon) with blue cheese on a brioche bun.
- What is the city doing to anchor promising startup companies to Santa Monica and secure local jobs? Perhaps the most important thing the City has done has been to build its Santa Monica City Net, 100 Gigabit Broadband services and offer it to businesses. The availability of reliable high-speed internet connectivity works to promote economic development and global competitiveness.
- Have you been the victim of a crime in Santa Monica in the past two years and what happened? No
- What Santa Monica service or professional organizations do you belong to? How many hours per week do you volunteer inside Santa Monica? None. But I have served on regional Boards (Southern California Association of Governments and Metro) to represent Santa Monica’s interests.
- Do you have an account with Bird, Lime, Jump, Lyft, Uber and/or Breeze for scooters and bikes? Which one do you use most frequently? I had a Breeze membership but I’m more of a pedestrian and transit person. I use the shared Lyft and Uber options sometimes and less frequently the non-shared ride hail.
- What, if any, is the connection between crime and homelessness? There are good human beings and not so good and some criminals among us. Some homeless people suffer from mental illness/addiction which may lead to aggressive behavior or crimes. Some speculate that State legislation allowing early release of some offenders has resulted in higher crime rates.
- Which three local businesses know you by name? Interactive Café, Auburn Hair Salon, and Jerry Rubin at his bumper sticker table on the Promenade.
- What does it mean for the City’s traffic mitigation efforts if BBB is considering replacing buses with cars on some routes? A vehicle is a vehicle whether a bus or a car. The BBB is considering a pilot micro-transit variation that would operate on-demand and would be shared rides. The pilot would operate on weekends and not at peak pm commute times. The vehicles used in any pilot must be electric so as to meet sustainability goals.
- How will the City’s economy survive the continued decline in retail sales? The City has survived changing economies before. Maintaining sound fiscal management, including not funding on-going programs with one-time monies, not relying on any single industry cluster, and adapting to a new retail environment (consuming experiences over things).
- Several downtown projects (the Fairmont, the Gehry project and 4th/5th and Arizona) are still working through the city process. What does the final buildout of downtown look like? There is no final buildout of downtown Santa Monica. Today the Downtown Community Plan provides the framework for the next 10-20 years. Future generations will decide what the downtown will look like for their time.
- Were the changes to the pier concerts a positive for the shows, the pier and the community? From feedback to date, there has been generally positive reviews of the concept from attendees and Pier businesses. Because of the smaller multiple stages people were encouraged to move around the Pier. Awaiting a formal report.
- How do you define progress for a community like Santa Monica? The City’s Well-Being efforts are about building resilience in ourselves. The Sustainable City Plan is about conserving natural resources and building infrastructure resilience. Guiding principles are equity and inclusiveness. Progress/success is supporting the well-being of today’s community and ensuring the City will be a better place for future generations.
ESSAY (Up to 1,000 words split as you choose between the two questions)
Santa Monica residents feel besieged homelessness and many are tired of being told solutions are coming or need to be at the regional level. What will you do from the Council dais to directly improve the quality of life for citizens concerned about this issue?
Homelessness is a complex problem and a heartbreaking issue that impacts all of us. Homelessness has been increasing nationwide, and communities need to come together to meet the challenge of homelessness.
Last November I voted to approve $1.4 million towards expansion of homeless outreach services. This is in addition to the annual $2.8 million provided in annual grants to non-profit organizations that provide services for homeless individuals.
Actions taken have includes outreach and engagement, care management and supportive services, and providing affordable housing and permanent supportive housing. Efforts include additional staff, hiring multi-disciplinary outreach workers and more staff for the Santa Monica Police Department’s Homeless Liaison Program (Help).
And a “Toolkit” booklet for residents, businesses and workers has been developed and is available as a printed booklet or available online at :https://static1.squarespace.com/static/5a959b0545776ea1ff3689a6/t/5a9dc8c7ec212d191ef2c0bd/1520289991827/SM+Homelessness+Digital+Toolkit_English.pdf )
The booklet provides information on practical resources such as information on how to contact experts in the field including what to do and who to call for assistance in different circumstances. If you see a situation that needs attention call Police Dispatch at 310-458-8491. If you feel threatened in any way, call 9-1-1.
Another booklet provides information on services and programs such as family reunification (reconnecting homeless individuals with their families) and what to do and who to contact if a community member is on the verge of becoming homeless.
Additional resources include the February 2018 issue of Seascape: https://www.smgov.net/uploadedFiles/Departments/CMO/CommGovRel/2018/r2.Seascape%20Feb%202018-INTERACTIVE.pdf
We know the police department needs to hire more people and state laws have put more criminals back on the streets but what will you do to at the local level mitigate the increase in crime?
Public Safety and fighting crime is critical to the Well-Being of the community. Public safety is a core responsibility of the City. While the City Council cannot direct the work of the Police Department, the City Council sets the priorities for the City and decides on how to fund those priorities.
As a member of the City Council I have supported our police and fire departments ensuring that they have adequate personnel, tools, equipment, technology and resources to do their job.
Crime Prevention is a significant part of the work of the Santa Monica Police Department. Information on how to prevent becoming a victim of crime is provided by the Police Department online at https://santamonicapd.org/Content.aspx?id=2487
I will continue to support our public safety personnel and their efforts to protect and serve our community.